In this file photo, Trevor Moran (10) of North Union stiff arms a tackler during the Wildcats first playoff game last season. Moran was a staple in the backfield for the Cats the NU coach Nick Hajjar is working to replace for this upcomnig season. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
With the first Friday Night football a mere 38 days away, coaches are using every minute to get their teams prepared. With COVID condensing last season into six weeks the Ohio High School Athletic Association lifted off-season coaching restrictions. Previously, coaches were only allowed 10 days in the off-season to work with their teams prior to the start of formal practice, which starts August 1. Now coaches have been given free reign to work with their teams as much as they would like leading up to the start of practice and North Union’s head football coach Nick Hajjar has jumped at he opportunity to get more time in with his team.
“It has been going really well,” Hajjar said. “We have been hitting the gym hard and have worked in more seven-on-seven games then we traditionally have done in the month on July.”
The Wildcat coach said the opportunity to work with his team earlier than usual has really allowed for the team to move further along with training and understanding the game the Wildcats want to play this season.
“We have had good attendance and players are really getting into shape,” Hajjar added. “That is really going to set use up once practices start in August.”
All of the off-season workouts have been optional for the Wildcats until the August 1 date when the team will start preparing for the season to come.
But even with all the extra time, Hajjar said he is taking a cautious approach.
“Football is a long season and I don’t want to burn these kids out too early,” Hajjar said. “So we are being cautious to not over work the kids. Giving them some days off so when practice gets here they are still fresh.”
Hajjar will have a lot of fresh faces on the field this season. The backfield will be completely different for the Wildcat for this upcoming season with Preston Crabtree, quarterback, Trevor Moran, running back and Trevyn Feasel, running back, quarterback and wide out, all graduating after spending the past three years starting for the Cats.
“It will be a new year for us, but I have always believed in the next man up mentality,” Hajjar said.
And after coming off a solid season that ended at the Region 18 semifinals against Eastwood in a 20-14 overtime loss last season, North Union hopes for another successful season. It all will start with a long-standing rival against Pleasant, which is scheduled for Aug. 20 at Pleasant High School.